Ever since it entered India, Hyundai has been synonymous with practicality, affordability and a “premium” feeling. While carrying forward these values for more than 26 years, they have carefully been able to balance out their reputation and not have a boring image like some other brands. One of the many hits of Hyundai is the Venue which recently received a facelift along with a sportier, more exciting N Line variant recently But is this sporty enough? Does it suit the today’s Gen Z buyers? Let’s find out!
At first glance, the N Line looks very distinctly Hyundai but it also makes you think that it isn’t any ordinary one. Generous use of red trim all along the car shouts it’s intentions while the imposing and bold chrome-studded grille amplifies its presence. It especially helps here given how small the Venue can look in size in traffic.
At the front, a silver faux diffuser has also been provided at the base of the front bumper which looks a bit odd in my opinion. Do note the vents at the bottom edges of the bumper enhance the feeling of sportiness; you will be surprised to know these are actually functional and aid aerodynamics!
From the side profile you get a nice look at the beautiful new 16 inch alloy wheels. They look more contemporary and have a wider appeal than the ones in non-N Line variants. There are also blacked out mirror caps and a slick red accent on the roof rails. As you move on to the rear, you are greeted by a very alluring light bar that stretches across the width and gives the Venue a very futuristic look. Also different are the dual exhaust tips which gel well with the overall character of the car (and provide some extra aural pleasure as well!)
Talking of the interiors, Hyundai has decided to give an all-black theme with contrasting red touches all-throughout the cabin. This colour combination makes the cabin feel a bit claustrophobic, a feeling which is enhanced given the dimensions are quite compact itself.
Speaking for quality, it is for most part budget grade. The plastics are hard and our test car already had rattles emerging from the front left doorpad. The AC vents have been painted black to merge with the dashboard but one vent also had some paint chipping. I should mention though, that panel gaps were largely consistent and the car felt well put-together otherwise.
If we talk about the layout of the dashboard, its upright stance and low height provide an easy and ergonomic access to various functions and while it doesn’t have any fancy curves, it remains functionally quite good. The 8 inch touchscreen has a crystal clear resolution with slick controls. It comes loaded with tons of features including in-built navigation, Alexa voice assistant, Hyundai’s Bluelink technology and a lot more. The steering wheel feels very satisfying to hold with soft leather wrapped around it. You can virtually control all functions through the controls placed on it. The classy N badge on the steering gives a lovely appearance as well!
Moving on to the seats, the driver gets a 4 way electrically adjustable seat, although height adjust remains manual. The seats are comfortable with adequate support for the back as well as heavy bolstering which holds you in place. The leather upholstery feels high quality and I have no complaints. These seats are remarkable for the segment and are bound to provide great comfort over long drives. Get into the rear seat and you immediately notice how easy ingress/egress is. The Venue N Line gets 2 step reclining rear seats which can be helpful if one of your fellow passenger wants to take a nap. In terms of space, the legroom can be a tight fit for taller people and the same goes for headroom. The Venue is a small car and while Hyundai tries to make it look big, the interior space is where you catch their goat.
Behind the wheel
Climb into the Venue and push the start button and you are greeted to a muted thrum from Hyundai’s 1.0 Turbo 3 cylinder GDI engine. This engine produces a figure of 120HP and 172NM and is paired to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. This combo is also offered on the regular Venue, the Grand i10 NIOS Turbo as well as the i20 hatchback. Shift the fine gear shifter to D and the Venue starts crawling at a speed of 6Kmph. The transition is smooth and there are no immediate jerks felt.
On the move, the Venue does have a punchy performance with a good low end and mid range power delivery. It is not blazing fast but quick enough to be fun. The gear shifts are seamless on the move, although there is a certain amount of lag present- a strange behaviour for a DCT. The updated exhaust sounds raspy while also being subtle. Push the engine harder and you will hear a delightful engine note that makes you push the A pedal further.
Thankfully, there is a manual mode as well as paddles which are great when you are in the mood for some sporty driving. I must mention that if your running is majorly in bumper to bumper traffic, this is not the car for you. The dry-clutch transmission does not like sitting idle and in one instance of just 15 minutes of B2B traffic (a very common occurrence in metros), the car threw up a transmission overheat warning!
Talking of handling, the N Line gets an updated and stiffer suspension compared to the standard Venue which results in better composure on curves. The steering is typical Hyundai in the sense that it offers little feedback and the weight at higher speeds feels artificial. The ride definitely does feel stiff but not to the point of becoming uncomfortable while the suspension has a rounded feel to it and you will be surprised at how well it handles rough roads. The N Line also receives selectable drive modes which slightly alter the throttle. Brakes are something one needs to get used to since they feel grabby, but the 4 wheel discs offer excellent stopping power without any drama- something I highly appreciate on our less than perfect roads.
In terms of safety, Hyundai has loaded it with features. The Venue N Line comes with 6 airbags, Hill Hold Assist, ESC, VSM, Highline TPMS, Auto dimming IRVM, factory fitted dashcam, all disc brakes among else. Do note that the Venue has not been crash tested yet but its siblings viz. Creta and i20 did score only 3 stars. I hope the Venue comes out better whenever it is put through the tests. The dual Dashcam with a 2.3 inch display remains an outstanding move by Hyundai- a feature I feel should be mandatory on our roads.
If anything, Hyundai has just improved the Venue further with the new N Line variants. The car is loaded with tech, screams sportiness and is quite comfortable. That said, it is not perfect. The fit and finish is a worry, and so is the delicate transmission. At a price of Rs. 13.30 Lakh (Ex-showroom) it is pricey as well. The road presence also remains to be improved. But what the Venue N Line does right is having a trusty badge on the grille and the perfect size for crowded roads. If we are to go by the success of the Venue, this should be no less. Now only if Hyundai gives it more power and makes a true blue Venue N! Hyundai, if you’re reading this, bring it on!